Illinois DNR Offers Free Fishing Clinics

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This Missouri sport angler is among others legally snagging for paddlefish on the Osage River. (Courtesy MO Dept. of Conservation)

EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (KTVI)– Have your kids ever wanted to learn to fish? The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Urban Fishing Program is offering free fishing clinics throughout the state, including five in southern Illinois area.

The free program is targeted toward children 16 and younger, but anyone interested in learning basic fishing techniques may attend.

Instructors teach rules and regulations for fishing and show you how to bait a hook, tie a knot, cast, and how to handle and return fish to the water.  Participants are provided with rods, reels, bait and tackle for 90 minutes of catch-and-release fishing.

The Urban Fishing clinics are weekdays, usually with morning and afternoon sessions.


  • Frank Holten State Park in East St. Louis (thru Aug. 2) — 618-874-7920 or 618-250-2446
  • Gordon Moore Park in Alton (thru Aug. 2) – 618-462-1181 (ext. 1)
  • SIU Campus Lake in Carbondale (thru Aug. 2) – 618-453-6088
  • Veteran’s Park in Mt. Vernon (thru July 3) – 618-242-6890 or 618-314-0437
  • Foundation Park in Centralia (July 8 thru Aug. 2) – 618-532-4311 or 618-314-0437

The Illinois Urban Fishing Program was introduced in 1985.

For more information on fishing in Illinois, call the IDNR Division of Fisheries at 217-782-6424 or visit